Q: I've been practicing meditation/contemplation for more than twenty years. As of late, I am periodically troubled by the question "why am I doing this, i.e., contemplation?" The question is in the context of why God wants us to perform what appears to be an act outside of what would be a normal life, i.e., an artificial act. Why is it needed and for what purpose or ultimate value? I still persist but my doubting often makes me think about abandoning my practice and just live.
Contemplative spirituality can be defined as a life of faith in interior submission to God and pervading all one's motivations and behavior; a life of prayer and action prompted by the inspirations of the Holy Spirit; a disposition not limited to devotional practices, rituals, liturgy, or other particular acts of piety or service to others, but rather the catalyst that integrates, unifies and directs all one's activities. Gerald May, M.D., expresses it this way: "The Christian expression is in the two great commandments: to love God with one’s whole self and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Theologically, spirituality is our desire for love’s fulfillment which, in turn, is our response to God’s loving us first (1 Jn 4:19). We participate in the divine love that created us "so that we might seek God" (Acts 17:27). Further, the Christian contemplative tradition views God as always active in our lives, inviting, drawing and empowering us towards deepening love. ... In a Christian context, because we "live and move and have our being" in God (Acts 17:28), being present to things as they are involves encountering the Christ who "fills the whole creation" (Eph. 1:23). In other words, Christian contemplation means finding God in all things and all things in God. Brother Lawrence, the 17th century Carmelite friar, called it "the loving gaze which finds God everywhere.""
The article in the January 2018 e-bulletin, "Contemplative Movement" by Robin Gates, affirmed so many experiences that I observed during the first few years of my Centering Prayer practice. I noticed that my body began asking for movement as never before during reading, working on the computer, attending conferences, etc. My body always was asking me to move, even in a small way.
Heaven and Earth converge in our bodies. The body is our teacher. It gives us messages and grounds us in the sacred present. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It longs and prays for our hospitality, to be seen, heard, integrated, and welcomed back into wholeness. One way to offer hospitality is through contemplative movement, a practice that has evolved over the course of my relationship with movement and spirituality.
Q: My grandchildren are being raised Baptist Faith. When I asked what made them want to be baptized by full immersion, I fully expected them to say “because they love God”; instead the reply was a simple childish “so we don’t have to go to the H—- place." I was shocked and didn’t know how to respond in a simple explanation, without undermining their parent's faith. How can I explain one-ness and original blessing to them?
Q: I heard at the CO September 2017 conference that Fr. Thomas is emphasizing a return to the basics. What does this mean in your view?
Greetings Contemplative Outreach Community,